A radical remake of the Toronto Raptors hasn't changed the way Chris Bosh feels about his future.
The four-time All-Star forward seems intent on joining one of the most anticipated free agent markets in NBA history next summer.
A six-year veteran who averaged a career-high 22.7 points and 10.0 rebounds last year, Bosh has two years and approximately $33 million left on his current contract.
If he doesn't sign an extension with Toronto before Oct. 31, Bosh will likely opt out of the final year of his deal after this season, joining a free agent group that could include LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Amare Stoudemire, to name just a few.
"You can always consider stuff but you do things for a plan and when you're close to your plan, you don't give up," Bosh said Monday as the Raptors prepared to open training camp. "I had a plan three years ago when I signed that deal and I'm almost there."
Between now and then, Bosh will try to steer Toronto back into the playoffs after a 33-win season, one general manager Bryan Colangelo considers an embarrassment.
"The team failed miserably last year," Colangelo said. "There was no one more embarrassed than me."
Colangelo spent a busy summer retooling Toronto's roster. He added nine players in all, including swingman Hedo Turkoglu, bruising forward Reggie Evans, combo-guard Jarrett Jack and guard DeMar DeRozan, the ninth pick in the draft.
Bosh, center Andrea Bargnani and point guard Jose Calderon are the only three Toronto players who were in camp last fall.
Bosh by the numbers
CB4 has put up some impressive averages in his 439 career games played in a Raptors uniform:
- FG% - 0.487
- RPG - 9.2
- APG - 2.2
- PPG - 19.6
- BPG - 1.2
"Sometimes you sit back and marvel at the amount of change, the volume of change," Colangelo said. "You look at where we were last year at training camp and three guys remain. [Coach Jay Triano] and I talk all the time about how if we were going to walk into last year's gym and pick three guys and let's change everything, it would be the three guys that we've chosen."
Never one to shy away from a deal, Colangelo is prepared to keep tinkering with his roster if further changes are required.
"I'm not saying we've got all the answers, I'm not saying the team is complete, I just ran out of players to trade," he said.
So far, however, Calderon likes what he's seen after a few informal scrimmages.
"We have everything we needed," Calderon said. "Now we've just to got to put all the pieces together, get it working like a machine. I like it, I'm excited."
Bosh beefs up
Beefed up by 15 pounds after a summer of intense workouts and, by his count, "four or five meals a day," Bosh is eager to get down to business. However, he'll watch training camp from the sidelines after suffering a minor strain in his left hamstring while running sprints at home in Dallas, then tweaking the injury again last week during a workout in Toronto.
"It kind of feels like a muscle cramp, that's how it felt at first," Bosh said. "They were telling me if I had kept running and tried to be tough or whatever, it could have gotten a lot worse.
"Fortunately I stopped when I did."
The boredom of being confined to a stationary bike during camp doesn't suit Bosh.
"Usually, in a situation like that, I'm always wishing I could practise," he said.
With exactly one month until Toronto opens the regular season at home against James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Bosh won't be rushed back to action.
"The positive is that it's happening now," Triano said. "Until you get to the 28th of October, there's no other games that really count."
The Raptors will also keep an eye on Turkoglu, who followed up a run to the NBA Finals with Orlando by playing for Turkey at the recently concluded EuroBasket.
"His fatigue level, his health, is something we're going to be monitoring," Colangelo said.
Bosh has said he expects to earn the NBA's maximum salary on his next contract, whether he stays with Toronto or signs elsewhere. Peace of mind will also factor into his decision.
"It's all about feeling and being happy," Bosh said. "You have to be happy in order to do your job the right way."
Colangelo, whose goal is "to keep [Bosh] here in a Raptors uniform for a long time because he's the right kind of person to have," isn't concerned by the uncertainty surrounding his star player's future.
"I don't think it's a distraction, it's something that can be looked at maybe as a positive," Colangelo said. "He's coming into a situation where he's got to perform. If he performs, this team is probably going to perform and that means we're going to have a hell of a year."